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Commemorative watch marks 75 years


May 3, 2016
By Danette Dooley

852 words – MR

Commemorative watch marks 75 years

by Danette Dooley

A Toronto-based watch designer has partnered with the Canadian Military Police Association (CMPA) to offer a commemorative watch marking the 75th Anniversary of the Canadian Military Police Branch (CMPB).

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Robin Devine owns Time is Ticking Inc. and has been designing watches for Canadian military groups for the past two decades.

The projects she’s undertaken involving the military are an opportunity to not only give back ($10 from every watch goes to the respective organization) but to educate others about those who have served.

Devine worked closely with the association to produce an historical poster that can be printed or viewed online.

“I went through a rigorous process with the association… they review everything that I’ve written on the poster to confirm that it’s accurate,” Devine said.

Her CMPA poster notes – as background information – that the CMPB traces its roots to the formation of the Canadian Military Police Corps on September 15, 1917. The mounted personnel were charged with the responsibility of traffic control while enforcing discipline for the massive Canadian military machine on the Western Front.

According to Devine’s poster, by war’s end, formal establishment was set at 850 (and 34 horses) within 13 detachments.

It was the Second World War which truly saw the birth of contemporary Canadian military policing. The Canadian Provost Corps (C Pro C) was created on June 15, 1940; No. 1 Company, formed at Rockcliffe, Ottawa as part of 1st Canadian Division, was made up entirely of RCMP members. No. 2 Company, formed in Halifax and joining 2nd Canadian division, was comprised largely of municipal police officers.

Members were captured in the defense of Hong Kong. Others were wounded on the Dieppe beaches.

The Corps came into its own in Italy when a special traffic control company was formed and placed as many as 200 directional signs per mile of advance, manning well known routes like “Maple Leaf,” “London,” “Diamond” and “Ruby.”

Members also controlled the “Gold Flake” route from Marseilles to Cambrai as Canadian troops moved to their comrades in France, Belgium and Holland.

By war’s end, strength had risen to 6,120 men. Military police were clearly present when the Nazis finally surrendered on May 6 1945 in the Dutch town of Wageningen. The red cap, military police brassard and olive green motorcycle had become the Corps trademark, reflecting the bravery and discipline of the men and women who served as Provosts.

Since the war efforts military police have served missions of conflict from Cyrus to Haiti, Cambodia to Afghanistan and most recently in the Ukraine.

Today, the CMPB has members on every base and station of the Canadian Armed Forces in Canada and abroad.

Devine has designed watches for the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, West Nova Scotia Regiment, Royal Canadian Army Cadets, Royal Canadian Navy and Afghanistan mission soldiers. A watch also celebrates VE 1945 and other police and military-based groups.

One of her most recent initiatives is the Camp X watch.

“Camp X was the top-secret training camp in Whitby, Ontario where Ian Fleming did his intelligence training. When he lived in Toronto, (Fleming) lived across the street from James Bond United Church… and that’s where the name James Bond came from,” Devine explained.

According to Devine’s Camp X poster, British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill instructed his friend, the head of the British Security Co-ordination (BSC), Canadian born First World War hero Sir William Stephenson (who became known as “The Man Called Intrepid)” to establish a Canadian facility to train secret operatives in the art of espionage.

Established on December 6, 1941 one day before the infamous Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the camp, officially known as Special Training School #103, was established on 280 secluded acres of land along the shore of Lake Ontario, east of Toronto near the border between Oshawa and Whitby.

Over 500 agents (including those from the FBI) successfully trained at the camp before undertaking clandestine Allied missions around the world.

Agents from the FBI and Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the CIA, secretly attended the facility

“They’ve just created the TV series called “X Company.” That’s Camp X,” Devine said.

It’s not unusual, she said, for people to approach her at various gatherings to let her know they have bought one of her watches.

“I cannot put into words what an honour it is for me to be making these different watches for so many of the different regiments… people call me on the telephone and tell me about these amazing points in history that they’ve participated in or someone they know participated in. I get off the phone and I have goose bumps when I think of these brave men and women wearing my watch.”

Devine’s slim-line watches have a Seiko Japanese movement, raised gold plating on the face, a curved crystal, engraved case back and a designer leather strap. The association’s anniversary logo is engraved on the back.

Watches can be ordered from Devine for $79 plus applicable taxes and postage. Visit www.timeisticking.ca, email timeisticking@sympatico.ca or call 416 925-5520 for more information.

dooley@blueline.ca


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